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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    Default Divination: Underpowered or just misunderstood?

    So, a friend and I have been have an argument.
    I believe divination to alot less powerful than other schools of magic. He says its just as powerful, if not more so. Now dont get me wrong, I agree it can be useful, but is a diviner as useful as an evoker, or as good at support as an adjurarer? I say no.
    So thats a summary. Please help us settle this by sharing your opinions.
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    Default Re: Divination: Underpowered or just misunderstood?

    Quote Originally Posted by onasuma View Post
    So, a friend and I have been have an argument.
    I believe divination to alot less powerful than other schools of magic. He says its just as powerful, if not more so. Now dont get me wrong, I agree it can be useful, but is a diviner as useful as an evoker, or as good at support as an adjurarer? I say no.
    So thats a summary. Please help us settle this by sharing your opinions.
    Complete Mage added some good Diviation spells, but yes in Core Diviation lacks good spells every spell level. Sure, there are good ones scattered about, but not at every level.

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    Default Re: Divination: Underpowered or just misunderstood?

    I'd say that an Evoker and a Diviner might be on par with one another. Probably the Diviner is going to be stronger actually because the character will be built with other things in mind, too, while an Evoker is likely to be played as making with the blasty-blasty all the time.

    The PHB (that stunning judge of balance) seems to pass judgment that Divination is weaker than the other schools since you only have to drop one other school of magic to become a Diviner.

    There are some powerful non-core divinations, but in core, I'd agree that the utility provided by Divination, while important to Batman, is not as wide as most of the other schools of magic.

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    Default Re: Divination: Underpowered or just misunderstood?

    Quote Originally Posted by onasuma View Post
    So, a friend and I have been have an argument.
    I believe divination to alot less powerful than other schools of magic. He says its just as powerful, if not more so. Now dont get me wrong, I agree it can be useful, but is a diviner as useful as an evoker, or as good at support as an adjurarer? I say no.
    So thats a summary. Please help us settle this by sharing your opinions.
    Yeah ...

    The School of Divination is weak in Core, but decent (though worse than Conjuration or Transmutation) if you are using lots of books. You can even find some decent offensive Divination spells if you look around.

    As a wizard specialty, though, Divination is competitive even in Core-only, because you only have to Ban one school. Personally I'd usually rather specialize in Conjuration and ban Evocation/Enchantment, but it's probably more powerful to specialize in Divination and ban just one of the two I mentioned.
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    Default Re: Divination: Underpowered or just misunderstood?

    Divination is fine and dandy, but D&D rarely focuses on it. The way most games play out it just isn't necessary. There's often a benefit to divining, but 99% of the time you can get by without it. You can't get by without some way to handle your enemies, so that usually gets a lot more attention than divinations.
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    Default Re: Divination: Underpowered or just misunderstood?

    Divination would be insanely powerful if left unchecked. That's why most DMs keep it under strict restrictions.
    In most campaigns if you are supposed to discover something you eventually do so and there often are some things that you are NOT supposed to know if the plot is to be meaningful; hence many DMs will just rule that some divinations didn't manage to obtain the given result.
    One tame example could be the Cloister spell that Xykon launches which has been made up by the Giant to be used in his story and has the function of rendering the "split order" subplot meaningful. Many BBEG routinely carry lead sheets or constantly are in likewise obscured lairs making whatever plot-resolving divination the characters can make irrelevant.

    If you have to set intelligence aside -as in most games- divination has little to offer in term of usefulness on the battlefield. True Strike, Foresight and similar others are, as said, few and scattered out.
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    Default Re: Divination: Underpowered or just misunderstood?

    In my experience Divination can be some of the most useful spells in a wizards repetoire. I just finished a intrigue laden campaign with a wizard 10, and I would not have had nearly as easy a time as I did without the Scrying and Locate spells.

    That being said, I don't support specialization of any sort. Limiting your ability to potentially useful spells for an additional handful of spells a day just seems asinine to me. Divination, aside from maybe evocation, is probably the worst to specialize in. Scrying and Greater Scrying, Locate X and Foresight are all you really need.

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    Default Re: Divination: Underpowered or just misunderstood?

    Let's look at some of the possible spells that an average caster might prepare with that extra Divination spell.

    Level 0: Read Magic or Detect Magic
    Level 1: True Strike or Identify
    Level 2: See Invisibility
    Level 3: Clairvoyance/audience
    Level 4: Arcane Eye or Scrying
    Level 5: Telepathic Bond or Scrying Eyes
    Level 6: True Seeing
    Level 7: Greater Scrying
    Level 8: Moment of Prescience
    Level 9: Foresight

    There are useful spells at every level. Almost all of them can help a group either avoid danger altogether or be better prepared for danger that waits in the next room. There's less need for the Ranger or Rogue to be exposed up at the front when you can send some Eyes to do the scouting for you. True Seeing can be extraordinarily helpful battling particular foes.

    Another feature of Divination that people often overlook: it lets you do things that start good, and stay good. Lower-level spells in most other schools do only a limited amount of damage, have saves that are easily overcome when you get to higher levels, or provide bonuses that are terrific for about three levels.

    The biggest argument for Divination, in my opinion, is that it maintains the Wizard's primary strength: versatility. With all other schools, the caster has to give up two other schools of magic to specialize. No matter which ones you pick, there will be a lot of extremely useful spells gone forever. The Diviner gets off lightly in that regard.

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    Default Re: Divination: Underpowered or just misunderstood?

    I agree with Telonius's post. Although the best schools may be either transmutation or conjuration (I prefer the former), specializing in either still takes two other schools out of your repertoire. I'd prefer being a diviner so I can have that extra spell slot and still be able to cast stuff from one more school than other specialists.


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    Default Re: Divination: Underpowered or just misunderstood?

    The school of divination is the single reason why wizards are overpowered compared to other classes. A wizard without Divination would be far weaker than a wizard without any two other schools.

    The reason? The phenomenal power that a wizard has lies in his adaptability. If he knows exactly what he's up against, he can prepare a list of spells chosen specifically for that challenge, and nothing works very well against an adventurer that's tailored specifically to it. The wizard can do that tailoring every single day. But this depends on knowing what spells to prepare for the day, which depends on the wizard knowing what he's up against. And it's the divination spells which let the wizard find out what he's up against.
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    Default Re: Divination: Underpowered or just misunderstood?

    Yeah, Divination is a lot more powerful than most people think, because most people who run wizards don't know how. As Chronos said, the key to a powerful wizard is not blasting or transforming or teleporting or invisibility. It is Planning, Planning, and then some Planning. If you don't do this, you will always be below the powerful potential of the wizard, and Divination is your keystone. 'Knowledge is Power' is never more true than with a wizard.

    Personally, I don't like too much planning, which is why I seldom run wizards, but Divination is probably the most important school to run the unstoppable wizard that keeps coming up in all the balance threads. Else, how would he know to prepare three forcecages instead of just two which the monk escapes with his rod of cancelation?
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    Default Re: Divination: Underpowered or just misunderstood?

    Divination is unappreciated. Sure, an evoker or transmuter can create a crater big enough for Galactus to sit in, but usually that's all they do. A lot of people just think nothing by "BLAST BLAST BLAST BLAST BLAST" when they make spellcasters. Specializing in divination takes a more subtle player who realizes that setting everything on fire isn't always the best course of action. Divination works especially well in campaigns with lots of intrigue and mystery. It can also help you know what you're going to be fighting. Just because it don't do damage doesn't mean it isn't useful.
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    Default Re: Divination: Underpowered or just misunderstood?

    Quote Originally Posted by Metal Head View Post
    Divination is unappreciated. Sure, an evoker or transmuter can create a crater big enough for Galactus to sit in, but usually that's all they do. A lot of people just think nothing by "BLAST BLAST BLAST BLAST BLAST" when they make spellcasters. Specializing in divination takes a more subtle player who realizes that setting everything on fire isn't always the best course of action. Divination works especially well in campaigns with lots of intrigue and mystery. It can also help you know what you're going to be fighting. Just because it don't do damage doesn't mean it isn't useful.
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    Default Re: Divination: Underpowered or just misunderstood?

    The problem is, from a Metagame PoV, most of the DMs will try to cripple one good use to use divination, thus it won't allow you to be uber-Batman. They'll probably be bitchy about every single limitation the divinations has, when they can mess, throw 'mysterious answers', good chances that these will be mysterious to the point of uselessness.
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    Default Re: Divination: Underpowered or just misunderstood?

    It all depends on how badly you want to ruin your DM's elaborate "intrigue in the court" arc...
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    Default Re: Divination: Underpowered or just misunderstood?

    Not only can divinations be nerfed by DM action. Many divinations can be nerfed simply through DM benign neglect. He/she doesn't need to hose the PC's - often, he simply hasn't figured things out behind the scenes as well as divination often requires. A contact other plane spell doesn't work too well if the DM doesn't know the answers to the questions either.

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    Default Re: Divination: Underpowered or just misunderstood?

    Divination is one of the schools that annoys DMs and players a lot. It looks underpowered at first but is actually one of the most game-breaking schools. If you know what you're doing (not me, I'm no good at it myself), it can really mess with any plots or metaplots the DM is trying to pull, unless the DM nerfs the spells either deliberately or accidentally.

    An fully optomized diviner specialist should know everything that is happening, everything that is going to happen, and where everything is. No surprises. Ever. Unless they are being actively opposed by an anti-diviner spellcaster. No, you don't blow people up much, but you are the spotter, the range finder, the one giving commands. You tell everyone what to do, when to do it, and keep track of *everything*.
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    Default Re: Divination: Underpowered or just misunderstood?

    Quote Originally Posted by onasuma View Post
    So, a friend and I have been have an argument.
    I believe divination to alot less powerful than other schools of magic. He says its just as powerful, if not more so. Now dont get me wrong, I agree it can be useful, but is a diviner as useful as an evoker, or as good at support as an adjurarer? I say no.
    So thats a summary. Please help us settle this by sharing your opinions.
    Sorry to add support to your friend, but divination can be pretty devastating. And not just in individual combats like other types of spells but, divinations can ruin entire campaigns if a DM isn't careful. The thing about divination is, it's pretty friggin' boring. There's rarely even a saving throw involved (and even when there is the other guy rolls it) and most divs are utility out-of-combat spells.

    I myself prefer evokers though, because they're just more fun.
    TS

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    Lightbulb Re: Divination: Underpowered or just misunderstood?

    Quote Originally Posted by Telonius View Post




    The biggest argument for Divination, in my opinion, is that it maintains the Wizard's primary strength: versatility. With all other schools, the caster has to give up two other schools of magic to specialize. No matter which ones you pick, there will be a lot of extremely useful spells gone forever. The Diviner gets off lightly in that regard.
    To build upon this.
    What is a Wizards truest strength? what makes them particularly unique? Versatility can be given to the rogues as well as the sorcerers. Magic goes to almost all high level classes in one form or another.
    Only wizards require intelect. Any other class you can play with out brains but to do so with a Wizard is suicide.

    What then is Divination but the expounding on game knowledge?The locating of things that other characters might not find. Preparing the party for what is to come.

    For Roleplaying few other classes offer the amount needed to make a good diviner. A true Diviner is always looking for ways to better her or himself. They hold a magic that makes all others pale by comparison. They think.

    "All knowldege is worth having."
    A diviner at low levels holds about as much power as an evocker a level higher. Sure in Core you have spells that favour the evoker in blasting and sure you have the other specialties to cover areas where they miss. But what happens to the poor evoker when he encounters a creature with high resitance? the enchanter vs the elf? Illisionist vs the gnome? necromancer faceing the priest abjurer vs another wizard? transmuter vs the druid or even a mage facing a warlock. While it is true that a diviner will face many of the same challanges vs these characters they also have spells that ignore racial resitances( true strike), spells to commune with the priest before it be to late to stop him making brash decisions, understanding of the magic that might be used against him(detect thoughts)the ability to know where be the warlock that he may avoid him or prepare a non magical solution(scrying claurvoyance) Dealing with a druid is as simple as tricking him into believing him a fellow of the order with clever words(tongues)
    And while it is possible to prevent one from scrying on you much can be learned from the lack of information as from having what you ask for.
    The only way a Dviner is weaker is if the persons playing him have not the ability to think outside of the box. i do hope this helps the arguement

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    Default Re: Divination: Underpowered or just misunderstood?

    Divination is like the flight spell.

    It lets you bypass many challenges, and makes many others easier.

    That said, the school of divination is underpowered. Most schools assist in overcoming challenges (overcoming challenges = xp, which advances the level-gaining goal). Divination primarily bypasses them (avoiding challenges = no xp, which does not).

    Thus, divination gives the party less experience, while simultaneously bypassing all of the DM's careful planning. Both sides lose out there.

    However, when used to FIND the challenge, and know its weaknesses, it's fine. The party just goes into the fights prepared. Even so, it's not as important as the things which will allow parties to overcome... Abjuration, Conjuration, Evocation, Necromancy, and the like.

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    Default Re: Divination: Underpowered or just misunderstood?

    Quote Originally Posted by Talic View Post
    However, when used to FIND the challenge, and know its weaknesses, it's fine. The party just goes into the fights prepared. Even so, it's not as important as the things which will allow parties to overcome... Abjuration, Conjuration, Evocation, Necromancy, and the like.
    Um, going into a fight with proper intel can make or break it. I'd almost sooner have a solid diviner in the party who does nothing once battle commences than an evoker or necromancer who only attacks enemies. Being able to go into every fight pre-buffed, knowing what our enemies strengths and weaknesses are, and being able to pick which fights we get into is much more valuable than another combatant. (An actual diviner isn't limited to just divinations, though.)

    Reliance on divinations almost makes you into a PC version of this:

    And just ask any military pilot how valuable their AWACs are.

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    Default Re: Divination: Underpowered or just misunderstood?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fhaolan View Post
    Divination is one of the schools that annoys DMs and players a lot. It looks underpowered at first but is actually one of the most game-breaking schools. If you know what you're doing (not me, I'm no good at it myself), it can really mess with any plots or metaplots the DM is trying to pull, unless the DM nerfs the spells either deliberately or accidentally.
    Oh, my dear god THIS.

    I run games almost entirely off-the-cuff. I put huge hours of prep time into designing the game, and making a complete setting, and coming up with world histories and good general plot threads. However, all that tends to happen before the game even starts. Once we get going, I know generally where my plots are going, but the details are done on the fly with what my players give me.

    As such, Divination is just hell. "Where are we going to be in 6 months?" "Where will the bad guy be next week?" Hell, half the time I don't even know who the bad guy is until we're months into the game! I hate doing it, but I've ended up generally dropping the banhammer on the school for this reason. There's still a few divination spells lying around (True Strike, ID, See Invisibility), but most of the stuff that lets you read minds, see the future, or watch anything that's going on anywhere is out, for my sanity as a GM.
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    Default Re: Divination: Underpowered or just misunderstood?

    As stated earlier, Divination spells consistently avoid suffering from obsoleteness as some other lower level spells. "Detect Magic" and "Detect Secret Doors" are just as useful at upper levels as they are at lower levels. They are the spells that make Wizarding far more utilitarian than just firing multi-colored blots of energy. A conversation a couple years ago in a game:

    Player 1: I search for secret doors. *rolls* Dang, 11.
    Player 2: Me too. *rolls* Dang.
    DM: You find nothing.
    Me: I'm casting "Detect Secret Doors".
    Other players: You can do that?

    Even better, I had it prepared on a scroll and ready to go (which I consider a wizard's best friend, which is a conversation for a different thread).
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    Default Re: Divination: Underpowered or just misunderstood?

    Yeah. Divination is awesome. Seriously powerful stuff, but you need to bear in mind two things when thinking about it.

    1. it really shines outside combat, in downtime divination effects can and should blow humongous holes in most plots or quests. Because the really important uses of it are usually the ones that aren't overly time sensative there isn't the same spell slot pressure to crank out the high level effects, so I'd not choose to specialize in it.

    2. The Gather Information skill is useful but you need to know what you're looking for, need to be surrounded by people to use it and the information must be known by someone for you to get an answer and even then it'll be mucked up with rumours and lies if it's about something big or important. Divination circumvents all that, scry + ledgend lore + commune + Whatever... can cut right throgh all mundane obsticles and most magical ones.

    2. Because it's so useful and potentially plot wrecking most DMs arbitrarily nerf it, understandably but still frustrating. If a wiz and a cleric of high enough level get to gether with a few days to spare there isn't much they can't find out between them. so suddenly all BBEG lairs are lead shielded (which now works against all Div effects not just Arcane sight) all BBEGs henchmen are somehow shielded or ignorant or whatever , etc....

    Basically it boils down to your DMs style on how powerful Divination is allowed to be. If it's all OKed with most BBEGs that don't have big knowledge skills not taking umpteen measures against it Div rocks. If every Bandit band becomes unfindable with Scry and every Dragon is ALLLLLLWAYS mindblanked then it's not the school fault it sucks.

    Edit: On the other hand just try fighting (or even just finding dammit) a high level caster without Div. Can't be done. You can find where they often have been, and if they're moronic set an ambush that might surprise them but that's it. And make damn sure at least one of you wastes actions in the surprise round Dim Locking that bad boy.
    Last edited by mostlyharmful; 2008-01-24 at 02:22 PM.
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    Default Re: Divination: Underpowered or just misunderstood?

    The mighty combination of greater scrying and greater teleport is the lynchpin of a true batman wizard's power. Divination may not be game-breaking on its own - you can't actually do much save look at stuff with it - but it assumes its true power when combined with the other mega-utility spells.

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    Default Re: Divination: Underpowered or just misunderstood?

    As has been said, divination's power depends entirely on the DM.

    Pure RAW it is outrageously powerful.
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    Default Re: Divination: Underpowered or just misunderstood?

    That said, the school of divination is underpowered. Most schools assist in overcoming challenges (overcoming challenges = xp, which advances the level-gaining goal). Divination primarily bypasses them (avoiding challenges = no xp, which does not).
    The PHB makes it clear that actively avoiding a challenge is a perfectly legitimate way to overcome it, and therefore earns XP. I would not want to play under a DM who houseruled otherwise.
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    Default Re: Divination: Underpowered or just misunderstood?

    I'm afraid I must argue that divination is not over powered, but then I play sorcerers rather than wizards.

    What you then must realize is that my spells know are a precious, valuable commodity. While some divination spells may be useful at points, thier uses are limited. I'm always going to want a nice variety of buffs utility and attack spells for every level and divination just isn't enough utility for me to use it. I've also never really ran around with high level characters, so I know little about the higher end Divinations, save what I've heard about foresight. But then just taking one or two divination spells doesn't make the school good.

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    Default Re: Divination: Underpowered or just misunderstood?

    Divination is insanely powerful, perhaps the most powerful school.

    "Who is the BBEG?"
    "What is an artifact that can shut down his powers?"
    "Where is said artifact?"
    "What guards the artifact? Who can bypass the wards?"
    "What's the BBEG worst fear? Spiders? Cool." (follow with illusions for fun and profit. or summons)

    These are all things a diviner probably already knows with even a day of preparation, and they can exploit them fully very easily. The tactic's called "scry and die" for a reason. The most powerful wizard is usually a diviner who bars evocation, or something like a conjuror or transmuter without evocation and enchantment or evocation and necromancy, depending on flavor.

    Even the question of "which type of bane weapon should I bring out on a walk today" is a very useful one to know.
    Last edited by F.L.; 2008-01-24 at 05:40 PM.

  30. - Top - End - #30
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Divination: Underpowered or just misunderstood?

    Divination became very, very viable with Complete Champion. By sacrificing your wizard bonus feats, you can actually cast them spontaneously! You can just replace your 5th level bonus feat and multiclass away too; there ain't any restrictions for that either.

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